Amidst Pope Francis‘ much-publicized trip to New York City, information was released that the pope himself will be releasing a rock album on November 27. The 78-year-old figurehead of the Catholic Church will release an 11-song LP called Wake Up!, and it will include original songs that feature the pope speaking in English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages. He has already released a track from it called “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” The five minute track bears a visible progressive rock influence to it, and it features an address that he made in English while he was in South Korea, as well as a verse from him that’s sung in Italian.
While this news may sound like a badly-timed April Fool’s Joke at first, this is actually not the first time a pope has contributed to popular music. Pope Benedict XVI appeared on the 2009 album Music From The Vatican: Alma Mater, and Pope John Paul II made an appearance on 1999’s Abba Pater. Francis, however, would appear to be the first pope to release a completely original rock album. A collaboration with Belief Digital, the album has already been approved by the Vatican, and it will feature him reciting sacred hymns, as well as giving excerpts from some of his most well-received speeches.
The album is being produced by artistic director Don Giulio Neroni. “For many years, I’ve been the producer and the artistic director of albums by the Pope. I had the honor to work with John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis,” Neroni says. “As in the past, for this album too, I tried to be strongly faithful to the pastoral and personality of Pope Francis: the Pope of dialogue, open doors, hospitality. For this reason, the voice of Pope Francis in Wake Up! dialogues music. And contemporary music dialogues with the Christian tradition of sacred hymns.”
Pope Francis has become a very honored man, even for people outside of the Catholic Church. He’s the first pope to be born outside of Europe, and he has motivated countless listeners with his thoughtful and universal speeches. He commonly brings up issues like climate change, refuge for the homeless, and equal rights, and he is also a supporter of same-sex marriage. Add all this to the fact that he is now a rock musician, and it’s safe to say that Pope Francis truly rocks.